Showing posts with label bubbles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bubbles. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Prosecco, Extra Dry

Riondo Winery was founded fairly recently, by Italian standards, in 2008.  Under the arm of Collis Veneto Wine Group, the winery uses grapes from a collective which is some two-thousand strong.  The Prosecco production area is in the northeastern part of the country, with vineyards mainly in the Berici Hills and Padua areas of the hills of Veneto.  Glera is the main grape variety used in the making of Prosecco.

This sparkling wine carries alcohol at 11% abv and it sells in many places for less than $10, making it one of the more affordable Proseccos.  It is imported by Illinois-based Terlato Wines.

The Riondo Prosecco provides a nice bit of white froth at the top of the glass, along with beautiful aromas of fruit and flowers.  The palate is, as promised, bone dry and features minerals, lemons and limes in the flavor profile.  It has a wonderful level of acidity so it is completely fresh and refreshing.  I had mine with a grilled cheese, swiss.  Delicious. 


Monday, January 24, 2022

Bubbles From Italy - Valdo Prosecco

Bubbles are often leaned on for special occasions, to make them more special - remember New Year's Eve?  You shouldn't need any help making Valentine's Day more special, but if you do, try something bubbly.  Let’s say you've already broken the bank on a gift for your sweetheart, and you need bubbles that are a little more reasonably priced than Champagne, but still festive and fun.  Meet Prosecco, Italy's favorite sparkling wine.

Valdo was founded in 1926, in Italy's Veneto region, the town of Valdobbiadene, then bought by the Bolla family in 1938.  Winemaker Gianfranco Zanon makes some really nice Prosecco there.

Valdo Marca Oro Brut Prosecco DOC  

This wine was made from 100% Glera grapes, grown in the Prosecco DOC in Veneto, in the northeastern part of Italy.  Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks and the wine got three months of Charmat aging, one month in the bottle.  Alcohol is at the typical 11% abv and the retail price is $15.

The fine bubbles sit on the straw-yellow wine and dissipate rather quickly.  The nose gives aromas of apples, candied apricots and peaches.  The palate offers delicious citrus, apple and mineral flavors, with a hint of custard on the finish.  Delightful. 


Valdo Marca Oro Prosecco DOC Rosé

A mix of 90% Glera and 10% Pinot Noir grapes, this Prosecco Rosé has a lovely pink hue and persistent perlage, those tiny bubbles.  Alcohol is no higher than 11% abv, while the retail price is $15.

This pink bubbly shows nice, fine bubbles and offers a beautiful nose of cherry, strawberry, pear, apple and a hint of citrus.  The palate carries those same fruit flavors, with a bit more lemon than on the nose.  The acidity is perfectly juxtaposed against the wine's sweetness.  Have it with anything, but it will pair best with Mediterranean dishes. 


Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Windsor Vineyards Gets Personal With Their Wine

Many wineries find it resourceful to create an additional revenue stream by making personalized labels for the wine they sell.  Sonoma County's Windsor Vineyards does this, and they sent me a bottle of bubbly to show me what it looks like.

The wine is Windsor's Platinum Series Brut Rosé North Coast sparkling wine.  It is made through the Méthode Champenoise of secondary fermentation in the bottle, just like in Champagne.  This one has the name of my wine website plastered on the front of the bottle.

For Windsor, it would seem to be more about the private labeling than it is about the wine.  However, Windsor - founded by wine legend Rodney Strong in 1959 - has been winning awards for their wines for decades.  They are now owned by Vintage Wine Estates.

The personalized labels actually started way back in the day, with Strong.  He started putting personalized labels on the wine - Mr. and Mrs., Happy Birthday, the law firm of Dewey, Cheatham and Howe - and the tradition continues today.

The Windsor Platinum Series Brut Rosé North Coast sparkler was aged in the bottle, on the spent yeast cells, for 19 months.  The non-vintage wine has a full mouthfeel, while presenting a vibrant freshness.  Alcohol is 12.5% abv and the wine retails for $32 with the Windsor label on the bottle.  It costs extra for a personalized label.  They start at $12 with a minimum order of two bottles.

This Sonoma County bubbly is a beautiful copper-salmon color in the glass with a nose of sweet red fruit and toast.  The palate is as dry as a bone and loaded with a racy acidity.  Strawberries, cherries, lemons, tangerines and a truckload of minerals fill out the flavor profile.  Lemon chimes in on the finish.


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Monday, September 20, 2021

Kosher Bubbles From The Russian River Valley

The Jewish High Holy Days are happening this month, which means you'll need some kosher wines.  You can always turn to Royal Wine Corporation for reliably high-quality kosher wines.  Royal is owned by the Herzog family, whose wine history dates back to the middle of the 19th century.  Royal imports and distributes kosher wines from all over the world, and they make their own at the Herzog winery in Southern California.

Herzog Special Reserve Russian River Valley Sparkling Wine

This sparkling Chardonnay is made from grapes grown in the cool-climate Russian River Valley.  The bubbles were produced through the Methode Champenoise, and the wine is kosher.  Alcohol sits at 13.5% abv and I saw it selling online for more than $50.

This pale yellow wine produces a nice, white froth when poured.  The nose has yeasty notes of citrus and stone fruit, with an earthy element that is fabulous.  The toast and earth aspects are also present on the palate.  It's a dry wine, but there is a sweetness about it that has everything to do with the fruit.  This is one California sparkling wine I could easily recommend.


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Monday, August 2, 2021

Three Prosecco Rosé Wines

The Italian sparkling wine known as Prosecco dates back to the 14th century, as made in the town of Prosecco in the district of Trieste.  The Prosecco DOC was not established until 2009.  Rosé was not permitted until 2020.

I had the pleasure of attending a virtual event during National Prosecco Week, hosted by Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen, also known as the World Wine Guys.  While presenting an overview of Prosecco's history, the pair identified what it is that attracts so many people to the bubbly wine: "Prosecco is fun."

There was much more to the event, but that's the takeaway, in a nutshell.  They also mentioned that real Prosecco is identified by the blue seal on the neck of the bottle, and urged consumers to accept no substitutes.

Those of us tasting along with the World Wine Guys sampled six outstanding Proseccos, three brut styles and three rosés.  First, the pink.

The Mionetto Prosecco DOC Rosé Millesimato is produced under the umbrella of Freixenet.  This one was made using grapes from the 2020 vintage, 90% Glera and 10% Pinot Nero fruit.  Those grapes were soft-pressed and left on the skins for just a few days.  The bubbles come from the Charmat method of secondary fermentation, in a pressurized tank.  Alcohol is quite light, at just 11% abv.

This Prosecco is a rich salmon pink in the glass, tending toward orange.  The nose is full of bright red fruit - cherries, dried apricots and lemons.  The froth dissipates rather quickly, and the palate is as cheerful as Prosecco is expected to be.  Berries, citrus and a touch of honey make merry on the taste buds in this bone-dry bubbly.  The citrus lasts longest on the finish.  

The Torresella Prosecco DOC Rosé is another extra dry pink Prosecco under an umbrella, this time that of Santa Margherita.  The Torresella Winery website offers that the winery is located "Italy's eastern Veneto region, an area of gentle hills and broad plains along the Adriatic Sea, about midway between Venice and Trieste."

This wine is made entirely from Glera grapes which were grown in Treviso and Venezia.  The wine was made sparkling through the Charmat method, which has the secondary fermentation take place in a tank, under pressure.  Alcohol sits at 11.5% abv.

This light pink sparkling wine has a nice froth in the glass, which dissipates quickly.  Aromas of strawberry, cherry and a touch of toast lie on the nose, while the palate brings some citrus and stone fruit to the party.  The finish is medium length and carries with it a bit of earthiness.

The Masottina Conegliano Prosecco DOC Rosé Brut is produced by the third generation of the Dal Bianco family.  The wine is 100% Glera grapes, grown in the hills of the Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore.  Winemaker Adriano Dal Bianco carries his family's tradition well.  The wine has alcohol at 11.5% abv and it retails for $24.

This pink Prosecco smells like red ripe cherries, with more of the same on the palate.  Flavors of citrus join in, lime and grapefruit mainly.  The bubbles are generous, but fade quickly.  They are fun while they last, though.  


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Two "Cru" Proseccos From Valdobbiadene

Virtual wine tasting events are no stranger to me, especially in the era of COVID-19.  Get the box, open the box, log on and taste from home.  No social distancing to strain the process, no mask needed.  I was invited to take part in a Zoom gathering recently along with two dozen other wine writers.  

Most of the wines in the virtual events have achieved the Tre Bicchieri - three glasses - status of Gambero Rosso International, the wine guide’s highest accolade.  The interactive event was hosted by Lorenzo Ruggeri, the wine guide's international editor, with comments along the two-hour journey from each winery’s representative.  Ruggeri spoke from Rome at sunset, which was mid-morning in Los Angeles.

Biancavigna Conegliano Valdobbiadene Rive di Soligo Extra Brut 2019

The Rive di Soligo estate vineyard sits at an elevation of more than 1200 feet, in the hills of Conegliano, Valdobbiaddene, in San Gallo near Soligo.  Indigenous Selections says the "rive" refers to the steepness of the land, some at a 70% slope.  They call it, unofficially, a Cru Prosecco, with the Glera grapes grown on 25-year-old vines planted in the rocky, clay soil.  

BiancaVigna is owned by Elena Moschetta, with winemaking duties handled by her brother Enrico Moschetta.  Elena, who spoke in the virtual event, hadn't intended to make a career of wine, but she eventually answered the door when her destiny knocked on it.  Alcohol for the wine comes in at an easy 11.5% abv, with an average retail price of $14.

The wine has a pale yellow color and smells of apples and citrus.  The bubbles are frothy and reconstitute nicely with a swirl of the glass.  The palate brings a healthy dose of lemon and lime, with green apples also appearing in the mix.  The acidity is wonderful, adding to the pleasure of the sip and allowing for a variety of pairing options.


Borgoluce Valdobbiadene Rive di Collalto Extra Brut
2019

The Borgoluce winery was founded in 938.  Today's Proprietors are quite distant from the era of three-digit years.  They are a mother and her daughters - Trinidad, Giuliana, Ninni & Caterina Collalto.  Winemaker Elisa Confortin rounds out the female team to create this 2019 Rive di Collalto Extra Brut Prosecco Superiore, made from Glera grapes grown on the steepest slopes of the Collalto family's 160 acres of vineyards.  The wine was made sparkling through the Charmat method.  Ninni Collalto Facchinetti spoke during the event and represented her winery in a most excellent way.

2019 is the first vintage of Rive "Extra Brut;" which kicks in at an alcohol level of 11.5% abv.  The winery says their vineyard's soils are clay with a high concentration of calcium carbonate, on the steepest part of hill, at the southern edge of Valdobbiadene near the Piave river.  The wine was aged on the lees - the spent yeast cells - for five months.  The retail price is about $24.

The Borgoluce people say this Prosecco takes time in the glass to give up its full expression, but I like the citrusy, yeasty nose right away.  Lemon and minerals dominate the nose, while the acidity provides a ton of refreshment.  It paired well with a vegetable korma as well as an avocado and pepper sandwich.



Monday, March 22, 2021

This Prosecco Brings More To Table Than Fun

Virtual wine tasting events are no stranger to me, especially in the era of COVID-19.  Get the box, open the box, log on and taste from home.  No social distancing to strain the process, no mask needed.  I am invited to take part in another online gathering of wine writers.  The series of events are staged by Gambero Rosso International.  All the wines to be tasted have achieved the Tre Bicchieri - three glasses - status, the wine guide's highest accolade.

Here is a sneak peek of today's first wine - the 2019 Bortolomiol Valdobbiadene Brut Ius Naturae Prosecco Superiore DOCG.

The Ius Naturae Prosecco Superiore features Glera grapes grown organically in the heart of Valdobbiadene, in the Parco della Filandetta area of northern Italy.  It is a Millesimato wine, meaning that the grapes all came from the same vintage.  The wine is made in the Martinotti-Charmat method for sparkling wine, in which the secondary fermentation occurs in tanks.  The alcohol content sits at 11.5% abv and the wine sells for around $14.

This bubbly is fun, as Prosecco is supposed to be.  It carries a pale golden color in the glass and gives up a nose that reminds me of lemon drops.  After a bit, green apples and apricots poke through the citrus extravaganza.  The bubbles are nice, but they don't last long.  On the palate, that promise of green apple shines through, and the acidity is as sharp as a tack.  Pair it with anything.  I chose pecan sugar cookies, butter crackers and hummus, and it worked every time.


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Monday, December 28, 2020

Cava Sparkles, Delights

Vilarnau is a Spanish cava house located outside Barcelona.  I understand they date back to the 1940s, although their parent company goes back much further.  Manuel María González Ángel founded his sherry winery in 1835, then joined up with his English agent Robert Blake Byass.  Importer Gonzalez Byass continues today under the descendents of Señor González.  They sell a large variety of wines, like the cavas of Vilarnau.  The bottles are wrapped in the avant-garde garden design of Antoni Gaudi

The Cava Vilarnau Brut Reserve was made from 50% Macabeo grapes, 35% Parellada and 15% Xarel.lo.  Aging in the bottle took place over 15 months.  Alcohol is quite restrained, at 11.5% abv, while the retail price is an easy $15.

This sparkling wine from Spain has as much on the nose as it does in the bubbles.  Peach and Meyer lemon aromas mix with toasty notes, while the bubbles froth up nicely - although they do dissipate quickly.  The palate is fresh and alive, with lemon, minerals and bit of orange peel for a festive flavor.

The Cava Vilarnau Rosé Délicat Réserva combines 85% Garnacha grapes with 15% Pinot Noir.  Alcohol sits at 12% abv and the price tag is $16 .

This sparkler colors up in a beautiful salmon orange.  The nose has a cherry note added to the peach and lemon.  The toasty aspect is gorgeous, the acidity is lively and fresh and the finish is long and vibrant.  This is a great bubbly for the holidays.


Monday, November 11, 2019

Champagne For Celebrating - Or Not

I had a bottle of Delamotte Rosé Champagne all ready to celebrate the Houston Astros 2019 World Series victory.  That did not materialize, but since it had been on ice since game seven's 4th inning, I enjoyed it anyway.  That's what I get for planning a celebration too early.

Delamotte is a small Champagne producer which works under the eaves of the House of Laurent-Perrier group.  The House of Delamotte was founded in 1760, and is the fifth oldest in Champagne.  They are located in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, which their importer describes as one of the most prized Grand Cru Villages of the Côté des Blancs. 

For this pink sparkler, Pinot Noir grapes were sourced from Grand Cru vineyards on the South-East slopes of the Montagne de Reims - namely Bouzy, Ambonnay, and Tours-sur-Marne.  The Chardonnay grapes were picked in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger.  The wine was made in the saignée method to achieve just the right tint and the two wines were co-fermented.  Alcohol hits the usual 12% abv and it sells for around $75.

This Champagne looks rosy-pink in the glass and offers aromas of ripe cherries, strawberries and toast with a hint of earthiness.  The palate is a creamy delight.  A slight tartness balances the sweetness of the fruit, while a yeasty note hangs in between.  The acidity is great, and the bubbles are festive while they last.


Monday, August 5, 2019

Sweet Italian Sparkling Wine

This Italian bottle of bubbles, imported by the Royal Wine Company, is Bartenura Demi Sec, which means it is semi-dry.  It's made from a blend of Prosecco grapes, including Glera.  The limited edition, non-vintage, kosher wine carries a low alcohol level of only 10% abv and retails for about $23. 

The Italian Bartenura winery was named for a 15th century rabbi near Forli who was known as The Bartenura for his commentary on Jewish law.  Their wines are kosher.

This Italian sparkler is basically an even sweeter Prosecco than Prosecco.  The nose offers pretty, white flowers and ripe, yellow peaches.  On the palate, stone fruit holds court in a low alcohol - 10% abv - context, with easy acidity and quickly dissipating bubbles.  It's a summer sipper, and a good one at that.


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Sparkling Albariño

The Laxas bodega has been in the family since 1862, and they watch over their 13-acre estate vineyard with careful eyes.  The vines grow on steep terraces which look south over the Miña River in sandy, mineral-laden soil.  Winemaker Jorge Dominguez Hervella works with great fruit and makes the most of it, producing an Albariño that speaks of its land.

The 2016 Sensum Laxas Sparkling Albariño is made from 100% estate-grown Rias Baìxas Albariño grapes. It is fermented in the traditional method, the way it’s done in Champagne.  Alcohol tips 12.7% abv, and the price hits nearly $30.

This sparkler has intense bubbles and a nose of green apples, citrus and floral notes.  On the palate, minerals abound.  There’s a very nice acidity, with a creamy aspect on top of it.  This wine will pair with any type of seafood, but try it with oysters.


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Friday, May 3, 2019

Rosés For Spring: From Italy With Bubbles

Whose springtime isn't made better with a pink sparkler from Italy?  This one lands on the sweet side, and is kosher.

The Italian Bartenura winery was named for a 15th century rabbi near Forli who was known as The Bartenura, for his commentary on Jewish law.

The Moscato grapes for the Bartenura Sparkling Moscato Rosé reportedly came from "all over the greatest regions of Italy."  The wine has an easy-drinking 7% abv number and sells for about $18.

This spumante dolce has about as much alcohol in it as many beers, so it's incredibly easy to drink.  The bubbles rise up festively and last a good while in the glass. White flowers and pears dominate the gorgeous nose, while the palate shows red fruit in all its ripe sweetness.  The wine's acidity is fresh, which gives it some purpose with food pairing, but don't feel bad about just sipping a chilled bottle by the grill.  It'll be gone before you know it.


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Rosés For Spring: A Pink French Sparkler

Hey, is it rosé season already?  Maybe it creeps up on me because it's always rosé season at my place.  We are taking some time to spotlight a few worthy pink wines which will help get us in the swing for spring.

La Vieille Ferme Reserve Sparkling Rosé NV

The Perrin family heads up a French winemaking company which includes the noted Château de Beaucastel of the Rhône Valley.  The La Vieille Ferme label - it means "the old farm" - houses a very nice still rosé wine and one that bubbles up in the glass. 

The bubbly one, La Vieille Ferme Reserve Sparkling Rosé, is a festive non-vintage pink made in the same method used in the Champagne region.  The winery website champions the limestone soil in which the grapes are grown, but does not specify where that dirt is located.  The grape varieties are 40% Grenache, 40% Cinsault and 20% Pinot Noir.  After the separate wines are blended, they rest in stainless steel tanks until bottling.  Alcohol hits only 12% abv, while the retail price stays under the $20 mark.

This lightly frothy, salmon hued, sparkling rosé smells of peaches, strawberries and flowers.  The palate falls in line with a sense of wild cherry cough drops sprinkled into the mix.  It's fun and it's refreshing, as well as being a little more complex than I anticipated. 


Monday, February 25, 2019

Day-Old Sparkler Wows

Why does sparkling wine always seem better after it's gone flat?  Is it just me, or do the festive bubbles seem to get in the way of the aromas and flavors?  I like a sparkler when it's been open for a day and has just a bit of frizzante left to it.  It seems then more like a real wine.  It also seems to allow the wine's full complexity to surface and be savored.  That's how it was with the Valentin Bianchi Brut.

This Argentine wine was made in the traditional method, Champenoise, meaning it got a second fermentation in the bottle.  It was aged for a year in the bottle with the spent yeast cells, a method called sur lie, which imparts more weight and creaminess to a wine.

The grapes - 62% Chardonnay, 33% Pinot Noir and 5% Viognier - came from Bianchi's Dona Elsa Estate and Las Parades Estate.  The sandy soil sits 75- meters above sea level in San Rafael, Mendoza.  Alcohol registers 12.5% abv and it retails for $22.  Bianchi is imported by Quintessential Wines.
 
This is one complex sparkler.  I have been taken aback in the past by several South American Chardonnays, which sometimes have led me to think of Champagne.  Bianchi Brut comes on with some Meyer lemon and tangerine, which is quickly greeted by a toasty note, then squeezed aside by a smokey aspect.  There's a lot going on in there.  The palate is simply delicious, with savory overtones on the fruit flavors.  Acidity zips right along, but doesn't make a nuisance of itself.  Pair away with, you know, anything - it's a bubbly - but I'm just going to sip this until it's gone.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Kiwi Bubbles: Villa Maria Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc

A recent virtual tasting event shone the wine spotlight on New Zealand, specifically Villa Maria winery.  Winemaker Kathrin Jankowiec guided us through a half dozen of her creations and took a good look at their Taylors Pass Vineyard, on the north bank of the meandering Awatere River.  I've never been to the land of the kiwi, but after checking out some images online, I'm ready to call Air New Zealand right now.

Villa Maria was founded by George Fistonich in 1961 as a five-acre vineyard in Auckland.  He and his wife ran the show themselves until he expanded in the 1970s.  They now have estate vineyards on both the North and South islands.

The winery has grown over the decades and now has estate vineyards on both the North and South islands:


  • Auckland is a warm-temperate climate, with warm, humid summers and mild, damp winters.  It's the country's largest population center.
  • Gisborne is in the northeastern corner of the North Island and is also called the East Cape or East Coast.  It's known for its warm summers and mild winters.
  • Hawke's Bay in on the North Island's east coast.  Long, hot summers and cool winters.
  • Marlborough is located in the northeast of the South Island.  It's New Zealand's sunniest spot.  The Villa Maria winery here opened in 2000.


The 2017 Villa Maria Bubbly Sauvignon Blanc hits only 12.5% abv and sells for about $15.  I mentioned its bold qualities on Twitter, and the winery replied, "It's a great way to wake up your palate!"  @IsaacJamesBaker noted the "green apples, white peaches, bell pepper, saline and nettle" notes.

It's a bubbly Sauvignon Blanc, with small bubbles that vanish quickly but make the glass festive while they're there.  The nose hits like a freshly mowed lawn, seeming even more pungent than a NZ SauvBlanc usually does, while the palate displays all the citrus zest and minerals one would expect from the varietal.  Acidity is right at the top, as expected.


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Friday, March 30, 2018

The Earth Of Spain, With Bubbles

Vilarnau is a cava House located outside Barcelona.  I understand they date back to the 1940s, although their parent company goes back much further.  Manuel María González Ángel founded his sherry winery in 1835, then joined up with his English agent Robert Blake Byass.  Gonzalez Byass continues today under the descendents of Señor González.  They sell a large variety of wines, like the cavas of Vilarnau.  The wines are crafted by winemakers Damià Deàs and Eva Plazas.

This bottling is the winery's Trencadis Edition.  "Trencadis" is a style of mosaic art that utilizes small fragments of glassware.  You see the style emulated in the wrapper that covers the bottle, the avant-garde design of Antoni Gaudi

This delightful Vilarnau Brut Reserva non-vintage cava is made from  50% Macabeo grapes, 35% Parellada and 15% Xarel-lo.  Wine Enthusiast says you can say "zuh-REL-o" and not embarrass yourself too much.  The trio of Spanish grapes are typically used to make the sparkling treat.  The bubbly is aged from 15 months to two years in the bottle.  Alcohol tips in at a low, low 11.5% abv and it sells for $15.

The bubbles disappear quickly, but they're a blast for the short time they hang around.  Once they go away, the yeasty nose comes on strong and brings tons of citrus and minerals with it.  The mouth is full and dry, with earth and Meyer lemon to flavor the palate.  There are minerals aplenty.  Yeast and dirt linger on the finish for a long time.


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

South African Bubbles

Since the 1960s, Simonsig has been producing wine from South Africa's Stellenbosch region. 
This one, Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rosé, was intended for sampling by Valentine's Day.  Well, bubbles are still a good idea no matter what time of year it is.  Bubbles every day for the rest of 2018!  Go for it.

This South African bubbly hits the Pinot trifecta: 63% Pinot Noir, 35% Pinotage and 2% Pinot Meunier.  Pinotage is South Africa's leading red wine grape. According to Wikipedia, it was bred there in 1925 by by Abraham Izak Perold.  It's a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut, which was known as "Hermitage" in South Africa back then.  The sparkler is made in the méthode cap classique, which is basically how Champagne is made in France, with bottle fermentation.

Winemaker Johan Malan says 2015 was a warm vintage in which the grapes were picked about two weeks ahead of schedule.  Alcohol is a low 12.1% abv and it sells online for about $25.

The wine bubbles up vigorously, but the festive nature disappears quickly.  The nose is earthy, but fairly muted in that respect and in that of the red fruit.  Palate-wise, the wine disappoints a bit.  It does have a tasty, savory flavor and a nice shot of acidity, but I wanted a little more fruit expression.  Maybe I should stop complaining and just enjoy what is a thoroughly drinkable, but slightly underwhelming bubbly.


Friday, March 2, 2018

Bubbling Up From Down Under

The Paringa website declares that the Hickinbotham family has been in the Australian wine biz for some eight decades.  The current generations are David and Dena Hickinbotham and their son, Alan.  The founder, Alan Robb Hickinbotham, is reportedly considered to be the father of professional winemaking education down under, for his work with Roseworthy Agricultural College in South Australia.

David Hickinbotham loves Australian Rules Football.  That makes him okay in my book.  I don't understand the rules, which are apparently a big part of the sport, but I love to watch the games, especially the officiating.  Those guys in the white smocks declare scores and infractions with such gusto.

Long ago, I was attracted to a woman from Australia and I asked her out to dinner.  At the restaurant, she revealed that her brother was an ARF referee.  For the rest of the evening, that's all I could talk about.  She finally said, "Look, why don't I give you HIS number?"  She never went out with me again.  She didn’t give me her brother's number, either.  But I still like Australian wines, especially really good ones.

My love of Australian sparkling Shiraz is similar. I am fascinated by it.  It's dark ruby, but it has bubbles.  At its best, it is a very complex wine that really sneaks up on the sipper.  For a winery that delivers value wines of quality, it's a great choice.  Alcohol is a reasonable 12.5% abv and the wine sells online for well below the $20 mark.

The Paringa Sparkling Shiraz 2016 is a dark wine with a big, grapey nose and a blast of leather and meat coming right behind.  It's an interesting combo, such a simple beginning that turns complex on a dime.  The palate is just as brash, with subdued bubbles, keen acidity and a dark, fruity taste.  Think Lambrusco, but bigger.  The earth profile hits late and stays on the finish.  It's fun, but it's serious, too.


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